Travel in China Continues To Lag Behind The Rest of the World in Global COVID Recovery

Photo Credit: Karam Sodhi/AviationSource

LONDON – Now that the main summer peak is beginning to cool down, many airlines are beginning to sell fewer seats.

In the peak of the summer season, the total seats per week sold were over 100 million, but now it is going a bit less than 100 million seats per week sold.

One of the main reasons that there aren’t that many seats sold is because of the lockdowns in China. As China maintains a zero-COVID policy, with every new case, a new lockdown in China has the entire region in an extremely strict lockdown.

According to OAG, the world’s leading aviation intelligence company, China’s zero-COVID policies are so extreme, that it is hurting every airline flying to and from the region.

There have been many cases of crew members that are flying there that they are complaining about the strict routine they have to go under

Interesting numbers

Despite the Chinese lockdowns, the whole aviation market does see an increase in airplane seats sold, with a stable increase in seats sold.

The market is also waiting for the return of business travelers, as they bring the cash for the airlines.

However, their wait may not meet their hoped expectations, as the current economy seems to be slowing down with the upcoming recession, according to CNBC.

Comparing the reductions

While there is a global reduction in air travel, the reduction is not spread equally over all regions, as always.

There is always that one region that is leading with the reductions, in this case being the Caribbean, with a 14% reduction according to OAG now that the summer season is beginning to end.

They did, however, manage to remain at 88% of the 2019 level during the peak of the summer season.

The North East Asian market has seen a drop of 10%, mainly because of China implementing its very strict lockdowns.

Central Asia, however, has seen a 19% rise over the 2019 period despite them being, relatively speaking, the smallest region of the world in terms of seats sold. Because of this, Wizz Air is interested in this region and wants to build up a presence over there.

Central/West Africa is also seeing some positives, as they have a 9% increase over 2019. This may reduce over the coming few weeks as Nigeria is having currency exchange issues resulting in airlines cutting back their operations.

Overall, the growth compared to last year is at 24%, meaning that recovery is well underway, but it has been estimated by OAG that the global average compared to 2019 at the end of this year will be at 85%-90%.


While these numbers seem very good and promising, politics has finally begun meddling with the aviation industry, especially in Europe.

What they are, for example, trying to insist is that for short-haul flights, people should instead take high-speed trains, such as the Thalys, ICE, and others, instead of the airplane.

While it is a great idea to promote sustainability, it would also mean that they are reducing the regrowth of the aviation industry.

The weirder part of this all is that while paying for a train ticket, the consumer has to pay VAT over the regular price, while for the entire aviation industry, the consumer does not, meaning that if they want to promote their goal further, they should install VAT over the price of the plane ticket.

This, however, is something the government is afraid of doing, as the entire industry has been their pet project since the beginning of aviation, as they were the only ones able to allow themselves to buy a plane ticket for governmental projects.

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